Red Bull told it’d be ‘mad’ to split up Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez for Pierre Gasly
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Red Bull have been urged to avoid replacing Sergio Perez with Pierre Gasly at the start of next season by ex-Formula One engineer Kees van de Grint. The Austrian outfit signed Perez to drive alongside Max Verstappen after his departure from Racing Point, now Aston Martin, in 2020 and reaped the rewards of his presence in the team over the course of last year.
Perez was lauded for playing the team game during the latter stages of the previous campaign, with the Mexican driver battling hard to keep Lewis Hamilton behind for a number of laps at the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December. He has since enjoyed a decent start to proceedings in 2022 with two podium finishes and Van de Grint is adamant that he should retain his seat alongside Verstappen for the foreseeable future despite the Mexican having recently suggested that he could soon quit F1 if too many new races are added to the calendar.
“If Perez continues to perform as he does now, it would be madness to replace him,” Van de Grint told Formula1News.
“You have to be honest enough to say that he is a bit slower than Verstappen, who is clearly the No 1. It is very clear who the boss is, but Perez has done a great job and they are a great team.”
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Perez is only tied down to Red Bull until the end of the season and it has been suggested that Gasly could replace him in the not-too-distant future as a result of the latter’s impressive form with AlphaTauri. The Frenchman was previously called up by Red Bull in 2019 before he was ditched in the middle of the season but has since established himself as one of the most consistent drivers on the grid after finding his feet once again.
Gasly has made no secret of his desire to have another crack at Red Bull, who could soon be facing a tricky decision over his future in order to avoid losing him to another team when his contract runs out in 2024. Helmut Marko has already insisted that he is hoping to keep Gasly as part of the Red Bull family but conceded that he may be powerless to stop him from moving elsewhere if the 26-year-old is not given a second chance in the near future.
“At the moment we still have a contract with Checo,” Marko told Formel1.de when quizzed on Gasly’s fate earlier this month. “We have to compare the performance of these two drivers, and with Checo we still have until the middle of the year.
“With Gasly we still have a contract until 2023, and it’s already clear that if this contract expires and we can’t offer him a chance to move up, we will most likely lose him, and we don’t want that.”
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